Don’t Just Go Back to “Normal”

Make Post-Pandemic Life Better Than That 

We know you’re ready to get back out there. With the pandemic loosening its grip, this is the perfect opportunity to explore. We’re not talking about trips or vacations — We’re talking about Knoxville. The place we call home is filled with hidden gems. Whether you’ve lived here for two years or twenty, here’s a list of Knoxville’s best-kept secrets to visit this summer:  

There’s no doubt the Covid-19 pandemic was tough, but amid our collective fear and suffering, there were some silver linings. We learned to be kind and care for our neighbor, we slowed down, parents spent more time with their children. We focused more on our physical and mental health and learned to appreciate the smallest things we need to take for granted. As we rush to get “back to normal,” there are some lessons learned from our time under lockdown that we should keep, and even build upon, to create a new normal—better than the one before. 

Here are five ways the pandemic can improve how we live on the other side of it. 


Keep family closer and work more flexible 

For those separated from their loved ones, “family” took on a new meaning with friends, neighbors or strangers in their community forming sacred pandemic bubbles. The word “office” came to mean a bedroom, closet, or outdoor coffee shops; but, we realized that we could be effective and productive making “work” fit into our circumstances rather than adapting our lives to fit a corporate mold. 


Focus more on mental health 

The pandemic affected us individually in different ways. There was no guidebook on how to get through it but collectively, there was a shift to self-care, to give ourselves space and patience in our vulnerability in order to work through it. For some, that was journaling, others took daily walks or long bubble baths. Self-care was no longer seen as an indulgence but a necessity to keep going. Be sure you do.  

Embrace adaptability 

Lockdown forced us to try new ways of doing things. It wasn’t easy but the impossible became possible and many of us now have a more empowered perspective of our capabilities. From doctors’ appointments to weddings to religious worship and concerts—everyone learned to Zoom, where many amazing things happened over the last year. Most notably, it proved that we are resilient—and hopefully the darkest days of the pandemic are behind us. 


More gratitude 

The bleakness of the pandemic and universal suffering helped us see the good things that happened in a new light. We appreciated what we had so often taken for granted. Spontaneous performance filled us with joy. Realizing how fortunate some of us are and being grateful for it is an important mindset for recovery. Those of us with that privilege must remember that our good fortune is an opportunity to lift others up. 


Improve the planet 

In spite of the pandemic the Earth’s health did improve this last year. The dip in global carbon emissions, as flights were canceled along with our daily commute, led to an improvement in air quality for more than 80 percent of countries around the world. When we ventured out, we walked more or cycled instead of taking a car or public transportation. We shopped less and had less waste overall as the majority of people were working from home. That time not spent traveling translated into an opportunity to do other things or not be separated from our loved ones; and, the added bonus is that it helped our planet too.